As a registered dietitian at Bethany Village, here’s one of the questions I hear all the time: “Is there something I can eat so I have more energy?”
The answer is yes – and no.
No, because eating one specific food won’t improve your energy level. In fact, focusing heavily on just one or two foods will actually rob you of energy because your body will not get the variety of nutrients needed to fight the “blahs.”
When eating for energy, here are five tips to keep in mind:
1. Carbohydrates, protein and fat provide the calories – the energy – your body needs to function. You may not be able to balance your diet every day, but over the course of several days about 45% to 65% of calories should come from carbs, about 20% from protein and about 20% to 30% from fat.
2. Your body needs nourishment throughout your waking hours, but that doesn’t mean you should eat non-stop all day! Aim for three balanced meals a day with small morning, afternoon and evening snacks such as fruit, low-fat yogurt or even a small piece of high-quality dark chocolate. When you skip meals, your blood sugar may drop – and that will make you feel sluggish.
3. Carrying extra weight takes energy – and that means less energy for you to do the things you enjoy. When you are less active, what happens? You gain weight. If you need to lose weight, choose smaller portions. Keep your percentage of carbs, protein and fat the same – just reduce the total amount of food you eat. Avoid calorie-packed foods such as deep-fried, high-fat or high sugar items. Unfortunately, many “fast foods” fall into these categories. On a positive note, however, many fast food and quick-service places are now offering lower-calorie options.
4. Your body uses vitamins and minerals in food to “mobilize” the energy (calories) you consume in carbs, protein and fat. Vitamins and minerals also strengthen your immune system. Fruit, vegetables and whole grains are the best source of these “micronutrients” and they also provide fiber, which aids in digestion.
5. Last but not least, remember to enjoy your food and give the positive changes you make time to work. When you give your body a steady diet of healthy fuel and regular activity, you’ll soon be saying, “Bye-bye blahs!”
If you have questions or comments about your energy level and the foods you enjoy, share your thoughts with us.